Wondering how to adopt a dog? Get started with these pro tips and bring a furry friend into your family.
According to the Humane Society, of the 6–8 million animals that end up in shelters each year, "most pets end up homeless through no fault of their own: "moving" and "landlord issues" are the top reasons people give for relinquishing their pets, meaning shelters and rescue groups are full of wonderful family-ready pets.” Perhaps you feel as if you don’t know how to adopt a dog. Or maybe it seems easier or more convenient to go directly to a pet shop or a breeder and pay full price for a new puppy, but there are many benefits to adoption.
Shelters and rescues are fantastic resources to take you through the process, and they're invested in providing all the support you need for a smooth transition. They conduct behavioral analyses, provide training and medical treatment, and are devoted to finding great matches so their animals have a lasting home. Even if you don’t have any idea how to adopt a dog, here are some basics to get started.
How to adopt a dog: the adoption process
The process of how to adopt a dog can vary depending on the shelter or rescue organization, but most have a few common steps. First, you fill out an application providing basic information about your home environment, family, other pets, job, and lifestyle.
Next, it’s likely that you'll have an interview or consultation to discuss those questions in more depth. This is the time to demonstrate that you’ve given serious thought to how to adopt a dog and welcome a new family member into your life. You'll need to talk about what your lifestyle is like and the demands of your job and schedule. They will want to be sure you have time to adequately walk, care for, and bond with your new dog. Do you have children or other pets? They will want the dog you adopt to feel safe and secure with children and other animals.
It’s important to show that you’ve considered all the budgetary concerns. Look into the costs of quality food, toys, a cozy bed, and basic medical requirements like vaccinations. It's also smart to prepare for unexpected medical expenses and learn about insuring your dog.
The environment of your home matters quite a bit. Are you renting, or do you own your home? If you are renting, a shelter or rescue will require a written statement from your landlord stating you have permission to have a dog on the property. If you don’t have a yard, can you assure you have time to take your new dog out for walks and to nearby parks for exercise and socialization? If you do have a yard, is it fully fenced?
Even though your dog needs plenty of outside time, he or she shouldn't be an outdoor pet. Remember, shelters are looking to find a safe, lasting relationship for their dogs.
How to adopt a dog: ask questions
In addition to providing a lot of information in your answers, feel free to ask tons of questions about the dog’s medical history, experience with another family, training, and behavior concerns. Also be sure to ask about any allergies or special food requirements. It might seem pretty standard to buy dog food, but some breeds have specific dietary guidelines, and there is a lot to learn about foods and table scraps that are dangerous for dogs.
How to adopt a dog: picking the right match
Before you go to the shelter, do your research and give some thought to the characteristics and breed traits that will be the right match for your family and lifestyle.
If you have kids, Family Circle magazine recommends the classic lab or golden retriever for their gentle temperament and ease of training. Are you a frequent traveler who wants to be able to take your dog along in the car? Many dogs love riding in the car if they feel properly secure and cozy. Some breeds are especially adaptable to travel. According to PetCareRX, dogs that are sociable, obedient, and more relaxed by nature like the Maltese or English bulldog make excellent travel companions.
Many outdoorsy and active people find that dogs make superb exercise companions and even help them find more ways to get outside and get moving. While large dogs like German shepherds and Great Danes can run long distances, smaller dogs like terriers also have a ton of energy to burn. Outdoors Magazine reminds us that giving a “mutt” or mixed breed dog a home is in the spirit of adventure and just might be the best possible match for you. They write, “Let's hear it for the non-purebreds, the dogs who boast a quirky mix of breeds and whose lineage is charmingly unique. Find one at your local animal shelter, and you’ll be rewarded with a loyal friend who will eagerly join you on every adventure and whose qualities you won’t find anywhere else. There's no better outdoor companion than that.”
Now that you've learned the basics of how to adopt a dog, it's a great idea to look into pet insurance to cover accidental illness or injury. Get a quote today and be prepared to take your new dog home!
Have you gone through the adoption process with your dog? Leave a comment and share the best tips you've learned!